Coral bleaching is intensifying with global climate change. While the causes for these catastrophic events are well understood, the cellular mechanism that triggers bleaching is not well established. Our understanding of coral bleaching processes is hindered by the lack of robust methods for studying interactions between host and symbiont at the single-cell level. Here we exposed coral explants to acute thermal stress and measured oxidative stress, more specifically, reactive oxygen species (ROS), in individual symbiont cells. Furthermore, we measured concentrations of dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP) and dimethylsulphoxide (DMSO) to elucidate the role of these compounds in coral antioxidant function. This work demonstrates the application of coral explants for investigating coral physiology and biochemistry under thermal stress and delivers a new approach to study host-symbiont interactions at the microscale, allowing us to directly link intracellular ROS with DMSP and DMSO dynamics.
- Received November 9, 2016.
- Accepted March 2, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd